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Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card

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Ned Miller
Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 2:09:15 am

Last week (I had to chill before writing this) a 25 year old soundman I hired gave my client his business card at the end of the job. I have been shooting every week for 33 years and one of the first things I learned was you never, ever, EVER give the client your card, even if they ask for one. You say you are "available" through the person who hired you. Otherwise you are trying to steal a client. You are officially a back stabber.

Have things changed? Are these Millenials oblivious? If this 25 year old has his own sound studio ten years from now and hires a freelance mixer to sit with his client and mix, how will he feel when that freelancer gives the client his card? Is that not the same thing as saying, “Call me sometime.”?

Here’s the backstory: All my usual soundmen were unavailable and I went to my previous file of Craigs List respondents from ads past. I know, you’ll say I should not have used CL but in a pinch it’s great, I have met many good new crew members from it and I had no time to ask other DPs for referrals.

I broke several of my rules such as- Don’t hire people under under 30, hire only married people, car owners only, etc. etc. I was a little desperate. So, this kid’s resume was OK and he owns most of the gear I own so I figured he’d just parachute in. It was merely corporate run and gun interviews with a little b-roll. About as simple a gig as we do but with a fast schedule.

Besides the card incident (sorry to digress) he was about 40 minutes late, so I ended up looking unprofessional to my new client and this freelancer has no time to meet me early in the parking lot to patch the sound gear together. Naturally when it’s time to roll he can’t get the audio going so we have to go shotgun straight into the camera (the client noticed). I end up paying him $350 for what a PA (or someone I hire in front of Home Depot) can do for $150 (holding the mic). But I don’t care about the money and at the end of the day I figure maybe I will give him another chance and that’s when he commits, in my eyes, the ultimate freelancer faux pas by handing MY client his business card.

Is it me or what do you older guys think who put together freelance crews? Have the professional standards dropped so far? I remember when a 25 year old could be a pro. Now, if they can get the money to buy the gear and figure how to operate it they consider themselves “professionals”? Are they taught nothing in film schools? WTF? I have seen such a decline in professional standards in our business in the last 10 years it is truly disgusting.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 4:19:27 am

[Ned Miller] "Now, if they can get the money to buy the gear and figure how to operate it they consider themselves “professionals”? Are they taught nothing in film schools? WTF? I have seen such a decline in professional standards in our business in the last 10 years it is truly disgusting. "

In my experience film schools don't create ready-made professionals. If all they've worked on is film school assignments and/or their friend's movies they have no idea how the 'real world' works which is the case here. Anytime I see young people looking for education advice I always tell them to intern or get parttime jobs at local production facilities so they can learn how productions really come together.

I think you answered your own question to an extent. Due to the proliferation of video production and the reduction in the cost of gear you are seeing more people that strike out on their own at a young age as opposed to getting a job at an established shop and learning the ropes. The apprenticeship model that used to be common in this industry is all but dead.

Did you tell the guy that's it's poor form to hand out his card like that? To me he sounds more ignorant than malicious.




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Tom Sefton
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 9:30:40 am

Did you ask him to go to the client and retrieve his business card and apologise?


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Alex Elkins
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 8:27:26 am

Hi Ned,

It sounds like the way this guy conducted himself was completely unprofessional, right from the moment he arrived (late). As an under thirty myself I'd like to think that this is not the norm! One big problem I have with film school (and education generally, really) is the lack of preparation for the 'real world'. When I was studying I was amazed that there was no 'film business' module. It seems the only way to learn the business side of filmmaking is by just trying it out, and in the case of your freelancer this can lead you to make some very foolish decisions.

"I broke several of my rules such as- Don’t hire people under under 30, hire only married people, car owners only, etc. etc."
I have to take issue with this. Yes, your recent experience was a bad one, but that's not because the guy 'didn't own a car' or any of the other criteria he didn't fit into. He didn't know how to be professional on set. If you only hire people who are married then by definition you wouldn't hire any homosexuals, for instance. Or people who have been divorced. Or maybe someone who doesn't own a car simply chooses to 'go green'. Refusing to hire someone based on age, marital status or some irrelevant lifestyle choice is ridiculous, not to mention illegal.

Anyway, getting back to your overall point here, I think mentioning to the guy what he did wrong would be beneficial to both of you - you're paying him so he should know why you weren't happy with his conduct, and at the same time it will stop the guy from making the same mistakes again. If he has any interest in rebuilding broken bridges he'll invoice for the lower rate.

Alex Elkins
@postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
View my new colour correction reel


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:33:58 pm

I think all of the input is right on the money - by setting rules for "over certain age", "must have car", etc. will only hurt you. There are gung-ho, reliable types in all age groups - you just happened to hit a young jerk - there are plenty of old jerks around too, they just tend to have been weeded out by reputation...

I think you should have reprimanded the kid for being late (not in front of the client - although he deserved that treatment), and you should have docked his agreed upon fee for throwing the production off schedule and making you look bad. Sometimes hitting people in their wallets is the only thing they understand.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:45:27 pm

Kid sounds ignorant, but I have to wonder as well why you didn't call him on it right there. I understand if you didn't want to lose your composure, especially with a client around. But these kids are not going to learn the right way unless we say something at the appropriate time.

Maybe you need a card to hand out to your freelancers that lists some of your personal rules, before the gig happens. Some people would find that insulting, but I think I would appreciate the clear communication of expectations.


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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:38:38 pm

OP here:

Well, I didn't mention anything to him about the card, my jaw had hit the floor, he is a nice guy, very technically capable, someday will be a good soundman. He knew he had done wrong regarding being late, which I will address below. I didn't want to pile on, I was just checking on this forum if it was now OK in our biz to blatantly try to steal a client? And it should be taught in production classes when they teach about freelancing.

Alex & Joe, in regards to my "rules" it's a tenet in life to learn from one's mistakes. Since I have freelanced this long (33 yrs) and been on various crews and booked people at least a couple of times a week, here's what I know to be reality:

• Someone who does not own a car, meaning they don't drive the greater Chicago metropolitan area all the time, will be late 100% of the time to a far flung suburban location, especially if they are young. We no longer have defined rush hours, we have horrible construction areas, terrible weather, etc. They will borrow a car or rent from Zip car etc. and being young they tend not to use maps like us old codgers or listen to live traffic radio. They will believe what their GPS arrival time says or what Mapquest predicts. That is why it has been a 100% rate of tardiness.

• I avoid hiring someone who work nights such as a bartender, waiter/waitress, actor etc. for a crew member because my experience is that they will have been out late the previous evening. And even if they are not working the night before our shoot their circadian rythms are of a night owl, so a 6AM call is not in their best interest.

• I prefer to hire people at least in their thirties because I am not running a film school and need crew members who have been doing their craft for preferably ten years. PAs can be younger or perhaps a Lite Grip, but key positions forget it. In fact I prefer the Lite Grips to be in their twenties for strength and stamina.

• Married: depending on the person, if I have a shoot on let's say Thursday, I may first say, "What are you doing Wednesday night?" If the response is "My buddy's band is opening at a club" or "I have a date", then I will most likely not book the person. Our call times are usually around 7AM and with the drive time that means waking up at 5AM. I need for the person to be there fresh, alert and bouncing on the balls of their feet like a point guard. If someone is married then I am more assured that during the week they aren't out late. Also, if they have kids, they are more likely to appreciate the work.

So in sum, my "rules" are based on being burned over and over. It's just self preservation and it works.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.co


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Alex Elkins
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 2:51:01 pm

[Ned Miller]
"• Someone who does not own a car, meaning they don't drive the greater Chicago metropolitan area all the time, will be late 100% of the time to a far flung suburban location, especially if they are young. We no longer have defined rush hours, we have horrible construction areas, terrible weather, etc. They will borrow a car or rent from Zip car etc. and being young they tend not to use maps like us old codgers or listen to live traffic radio. They will believe what their GPS arrival time says or what Mapquest predicts. That is why it has been a 100% rate of tardiness.

• I avoid hiring someone who work nights such as a bartender, waiter/waitress, actor etc. for a crew member because my experience is that they will have been out late the previous evening. And even if they are not working the night before our shoot their circadian rythms are of a night owl, so a 6AM call is not in their best interest.

• I prefer to hire people at least in their thirties because I am not running a film school and need crew members who have been doing their craft for preferably ten years. PAs can be younger or perhaps a Lite Grip, but key positions forget it. In fact I prefer the Lite Grips to be in their twenties for strength and stamina.

• Married: depending on the person, if I have a shoot on let's say Thursday, I may first say, "What are you doing Wednesday night?" If the response is "My buddy's band is opening at a club" or "I have a date", then I will most likely not book the person. Our call times are usually around 7AM and with the drive time that means waking up at 5AM. I need for the person to be there fresh, alert and bouncing on the balls of their feet like a point guard. If someone is married then I am more assured that during the week they aren't out late. Also, if they have kids, they are more likely to appreciate the work."


This is most bizarre, and frankly offensive, set of assumptions I've ever read on Creative Cow. I understand not hiring people who work nights, fine - but presumably if you're paying good people a good rate then they don't have second jobs in bars anyway, so it seems largely irrelevant. I just don't see how age and marital status have anything to do with whether or not someone is able to get up early, read a map and lift equipment.

Ned, I'm glad your hiring system has worked for you, but I honestly think you're confusing 'age' with 'experience'. They're two different things. The guy you hired here was not 'experienced' enough to know not to hand out his business card to your client. I'm roughly the same age as him and I am 'experienced' enough to know this. I'm not married, but believe it or not I don't spend every waking hour dating and staying up late, and the same can be said for 100% of my young colleagues. Some people possess common sense and a work ethic, other don't. That applies to all age groups.

Alex Elkins
@postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
View my new colour grading reel


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 3:03:14 pm

Yes...the broad brush definitely does not work in a general sense, although it may be working for you. I think you should give second thoughts to the Craigslist hiring plan. It looks as if you're getting the bottom-feeders and no-accounts, who don't even understand the basics of the job, or (most importantly) don't have any business acumen. Late gets you fired from McDonald's, for God's sake.

I think the suggestion of a list of requirements/rules in the first email, or a mention in the first phone call, will scare away the deadbeats ("man...I have to work to get paid!"), as well as show them that you're a serious, no-nonsense, professional.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 4:07:08 pm

Without either approving or disapproving Ned's personal preferences, I would say in answer to his question that yes, kids today have a different set of values and societal norms, and these are not getting corrected by the schools the kids go to - if they go to schools in film-making at all these days. Thanks to low-cost high-tech and the free for all environment of the Cloud, they pick up their video making knowledge like we used to have to learn about procreation: "on the street". With about the same quality of information and dis-information. :-)

We've talked about this before: the "re-mix culture" of the younger generation doesn't recognize the same boundaries or societal norms we grew up with. IP law and copyrights are an anachronism to them. The hyper-competitive atmosphere provoked by the various market crashes and economic downturns has taught these kids to be sharks or chum, to be entreprenurial and cut-throat because there is no more Social Contract in the world of work.

From their POV, they're guerilla fighters and snipers listening to us geezers complain they don't march in rows like Napoleonic armies anymore. Our business mores look quaint and irrelevant to the younger set, in the absence of better teaching or a shared framework of reasons and reference. So boorish behaviors like the card incident can happen more frequently, because the ethical issue raised never occurs to these kids in the first place.

It remains up to us geezers to hold up standards and try our best to communicate their continued relevance. To express our expectations, while giving reasons for them.


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walter biscardi
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:15:53 pm

Honestly not that big a deal. Your client would have most likely noticed that it was the sound person who held everything up so it's not that big a deal.

Handing out a business card is nothing compared to what I've been through even just the past three years. People stealing original shows, longtime colleagues stealing long term edits, "partners" who are awesome until money gets rolling and then they want it all for themselves.

Having a freelancer hand out a business card? That just earns you a spot on the "never call again" and "be sure to let all the folks I work with know about them" list but other than that, not a big deal.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:55:14 pm

Yes Walter & Mark have hit it on the head. The Millenials have a whole different way of looking at work and business relationships, there are many TED Talks on the subject such as:







I have a Millenial son and daughter. Their relationships to the people who hire them is quite a different mind set than what my generation practices. Perhaps I should have a New (Young) Person Checklist and mention some of my idiosyncrasies such as: Don't hand my clients your business card, don't trust estimated drive times from GPS, use two alarm clocks, no underwear showing, do not look at your phone until the lunch break, etc. I suppose I have been doing this for so long I take all this for granted as common sense. I have never had to do so much handholding as I have in the last few years.

In the "old days" we all could count on a production community through the Illinois Film Guide, Chicago Film Office, etc. but that has now moved to Craigslist, like it or not. I have never gotten any work from CL but I have had to post for various services and have found really good crew members and post specialists. In fact, I am about to produce a training series and will get ALL my talent from CL. My last major project my lead actress showed up with an oozing cold sore from my long time talent agency (so no more talent agencies!) I had rented a grocery store and was faced with a possible re-shoot I could not afford. Sorry to digress....

I wish I was 25 and starting out again! The only upside to getting older is you are more experienced.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 27, 2013 at 3:18:53 am

Oh, so your children speak for the entire youth generation? If I was your kid, id probably grow up dis-functional too.


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Kylee Peña
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:38:20 pm

As one of the dreaded under thirties, I'll say that most of us appreciate when older people take the opportunity to let us know when we've done something wrong. My schooling didn't cover freelancing, and it certainly didn't cover if it was bad form to hand out a business card in a situation. You seem to understand this education gap, so why not be honest and direct about it?

Because here's my take: you say, besides the lateness and stuff, he's a decent sound guy. If you took the opportunity to say something to people who seem worthwhile, you might end up molding them into exactly what you look for when you're hiring a person -- before they're old!

Maybe not this dude, but in the future if you find yourself hiring some young people, something to keep in mind.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 21, 2013 at 11:44:32 pm

In the old days people came up through a more structured system and learned these things on their way to becoming a sound person, editor, DP, etc.,. Now that structure is gone so there will be many more inexperienced people at higher level positions.


As an aside, I can't think of the last time I used a paper map for something other than hiking trails. I keep printed maps in my car for redundancy but my GPS receives live traffic updates via RF and re-routes on the fly if need be and Google Maps (I can't vouch for MapQuest) includes ETA based on current traffic conditions and I've found it to pretty on the money (at least in the greater Los Angeles area). I still err on the side of caution though because, as a mentor of mine put it, to be early is to be on time. I'm in my mid-30's so I guess that makes me a 'tweener' for this discussion.




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Kylee Peña
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 22, 2013 at 1:34:48 pm

Not to take the thread off track too much more, but I have a paper map anecdote. When I was like 23, I was in an unfamiliar city and state trying to find a hotel with a producer (who was 50 or so). His wife was driving, he was navigating with a paper map. He got us completely lost. I pulled out my phone to Google map an actual route, and he says oh, great idea!

He then proceeds to pull out his smart phone and CALL INFORMATION.

I'm just sayin', the age thing has less to do with getting places on time than common sense and small doses of tech savvy.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 22, 2013 at 3:24:52 pm

I'm certainly no where NEAR still in my 20s, but I too find Ned's hiring restrictions a little... well bizarre isn't quite the right word, but close. Maybe arcane is a better word.

I'd point out that he can hire whomever he wants and NOT hire whomever he wants by whatever criteria he chooses. I'd suggest though that maybe he shouldn't broadcast those criteria as such.

You can choose not to hire someone in their 20s. But you shouldn't say that. Much better to say "I'll only hire someone with 15 years of experience." That knocks the 20-somethings out without being blatant about it. Or illegal.

You can't say "men only" or "no women" for a grip position. But if you specify "must be able to lift 200 pounds," well, that's going to lean toward one gender over the other.

Age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, religion... a bunch of things like that you should not specify when soliciting an employee, even a freelancer...or broadcast in a forum that this is your policy. To do so is inviting a lawsuit. And being close-minded enough that it probably knocks quite a few good people out of the running.


I'm reminded of the first episode of the great Mary Tyler Moore show, when Mary was applying for her job at WJM-TV and was interviewing with Lou Grant...



LOU:
What's your religion.

MARY:
Ummm... Mr. Grant, you're not allowed to ask that.

LOU:
Grrr. Ok...... why aren't you married?

MARY:
(pause)... Episcopalian.



As for the business card bit, I'm with Walter. Ignorance, yes... but nah, no big deal.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 22, 2013 at 3:57:17 pm

But....how do I hire someone with 10-15 years experience who is still in their twenties?

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 22, 2013 at 4:42:46 pm

[Ned Miller] "But....how do I hire someone with 10-15 years experience who is still in their twenties?"

That's the point. You don't.

You said one of your rules (that you broke) was that you don't hire people under 30.

If you want to stick with that rule, don't broadcast that. But if you do say they have to have a certain years' worth of experience, that will let you legally (and without being blatantly ageist) restrict yourself to the 30+ group.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 23, 2013 at 9:00:06 pm

You hire ten year old kids - the whole paper delivery route is falling by the wayside, and selling greeting cards is too tough - many of the ten year olds these days are getting apps money by gripping and doing audio on high-end productions. It's not publicized much, since it's illegal, but many of them are making a good living working under the table... :>)

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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walter biscardi
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 24, 2013 at 1:14:29 pm

[Kylee Wall] "As one of the dreaded under thirties, I'll say that most of us appreciate when older people take the opportunity to let us know when we've done something wrong."

I'll also add that to summarily dismiss any candidates just because they're young cuts a production owner off from a wealth of creative folks. Some of them have great creative chops and discipline while the vast majority of those I meet are missing the latter. Especially professionalism on the job and understanding that a deadline in the real world doesn't result in a bad grade.

But I've had excellent success bringing in "youngsters" throughout my company's life. I love the freshness they often bring to the table because they literally "don't know any better." They just do what feels right. Blend that with my oversight and experience to pass along and we generally end up with creative ideas I never would have thought of on my own.

Field production is definitely a bit different and you were put in a bad position, but don't ever summarily lop off a whole group of creatives just due to their age.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 24, 2013 at 1:41:33 pm

When I started at my current job, I was the young buck just out of college full of abstract book learnin' and fresh ideas, and the guys on the crew were all older than me, and a bit skeptical of everything I wanted to do or try. I often found myself having to sell them on why I wanted to something in a certain, unaccustomed way, and explaining obscure terms to them from my college training didn't always help.

It made for some challenging times when I had to be director.

Now I sometimes work under folks who hadn't yet gotten their driver's licenses when I was already well into this career, who sometimes look at me with skepticism regarding my relevance, instead of regarding me as a deeply knowledgeable resource. I like to think I have a better perspective on the inter-generational thing. It helps that I still tend to think like a young person, I guess.


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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 24, 2013 at 1:56:00 pm

Yes, field production is quite different. It is not a calm, temperature controlled office environment. Every work day is usually at a different address, a different start time, searching for a different parking garage, locating a different loading dock, etc. It takes a unique personality to function in this end of the biz. If someone is just 30 minutes late it can become a disaster, especially for a live event shoot. There's a stress level that starts a little before call time. I am the one looked at with a raised eyebrow when someone I hired messes up. I have brought along many young up and comers, many who are now my competitors...

But Walt you were right earlier. Him handing my client his card was not a danger to me, he would never be hired. I was merely insulted, and wondering if this is now OK to do. So many things have changed in our biz in a downhill direction I thought handing the client your card might now be seen as normal, a difference in generations, like neck tattoos.

And Terry, yes I do have many "bizarre" rules. For instance, I never shoot pool with someone who grew up with a pool table in their house. I insist the band aid box is always in the same place so I don't bleed all over the counter while looking for it. DVDs needing to be returned must be placed where we keep the car keys in a bowl to reduce overdue fees. Never hire a crew member or editor who also likes to shoot especially is they own camera rig(s). And... don't hire anyone who risks my relationship with the client. That's why I developed the "rules" and I've survived and thrived thus far.


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 12:03:45 am

I don't think there is a problem with him giving his business card in that situation. You don't own that person and plus, his profession is sound...what is your job description?


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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 1:28:39 pm

No Sebastian, it is NOT OK to give your card offering your production services to a client of the person who introduced you, at least among my generation. We were taught it is unethical. That is why I started this thread. I assume you are under 28 years of age. You have to work to get your own clients, not poach the clients of the person who brought you.

Geeesh....this is the kind of attitude I have been experiencing the last five or six years with the new people entering the biz. I attribute it to what several of the posters mentioned: there now is no formal training/education/apprenticeship system where a young person learns the ropes, or "rules".

I think I am done with this thread, Sebastian confirmed my observations.


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 1:53:50 pm

See you assume to much. You don't know me or my age. You should be mad at yourself for not making a binding contract with the guy. You have been doing this how long? And still haven't grasped that concept?


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Alex Elkins
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 1:45:08 pm

[Sebastian Schmid] "I don't think there is a problem with him giving his business card in that situation. You don't own that person and plus, his profession is sound...what is your job description?"

Sebastian, the point here is that Ned had to advertise for the position, interview applicants and organise everyone and everything involved in the shoot. It's a lot of work. For that he will likely be charging some kind of production fee, and probably marking-up the sound recordist's rate - a kind of agency fee, so to speak.

By the sound recordist handing out his business card to Ned's client, he's effectively saying "come direct to me and you can save on Ned's production fee and mark-up."
That's not a very cool thing for the sound recordist to do after Ned was good enough to hire him after investing all that time and effort in pre-production. It's also a pretty stupid thing to do, because he won't be hired by Ned again, nor anyone that Ned cares to tell.

Alex Elkins
@postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
View my new colour grading reel


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 1:49:57 pm

Then he should have formed a business contract to safe guard against it. I understand that he would be frustrated but its an unfortunate bi product of buisness


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 2:10:25 pm

Wow, some of you have a really whacked out view of things. Only hire someone over the age of 30? I feel bad for your clients. Your production will be limited. And I think some of you are holding on to an "analog" world. The industry changes, just like most things in life. If you can't accept change than perhaps your in the wrong industry. (This post is more of a general statement) in reference to film school and arbitrary age requirements for hiring.


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Alex Elkins
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 2:14:07 pm

[Sebastian Schmid] "Wow, some of you have a really whacked out view of things. Only hire someone over the age of 30? I feel bad for your clients. Your production will be limited."

I completely agree. However, I don't think anyone should be trying to poach clients from their employers, so I do agree with the initial complaint. It's a real shame to feel that they only way to stop people acting like jerks is by making them sign a contract where they agree not to be a jerk.

Alex Elkins
@postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
View my new colour grading reel


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 2:15:19 pm

It is. Unfortunately that's the ways it goes.


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Tom Sefton
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:45:14 pm

No, it's completely unacceptable. If you have to pay someone's wages for the day, they are NOT allowed to hand out business cards, unless they ask you and there is no clash of services. I'm 31 and have been doing this for over 9 years. I would never have dreamed of giving a client a business card for anyone I freelanced for in the past, even when I knew they were doing a poor job. This industry is small. People talk, and behaviour like that might steal you 1 client in 50, but lose you 99 of 100 freelance jobs. Try handing someone $250 (at least) for a day, giving them a job to put on their reel and then see whether you are happy at them handing out cards.


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:49:43 pm

Your missing the whole point. He should have made a binding contract. I don't care how long you have been in the business.


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Tom Sefton
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:04:29 pm

I'm not missing anything. Trust SHOULD be implicit between professionals. This is a small job that shouldn't require a contract. Do you have to draw up a contract with your mechanic not to rifle through your cd's, take your loose change and cigarettes out of your glove box and text your wife to ask her out for a date? Your original post claimed the freelancer hadnt done anything wrong?


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Patrick Ortman
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:32:28 pm

The guy screwed up. Don't hire him again. I used to say "and tell him what he did wrong". However, I've recently gotten into a ton of b.s. trying to help a younger idiot by explaining what he did wrong.

It's not an age thing, though. It's an idiot thing.

I shoot people.
http://www.patrickortman.com


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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:48:32 pm

Hey Patrick,

My original idea was to collect a bunch of responses from my post and when I send him his check I would include the link to this thread.

Later,

Ned

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:59:36 pm

Thank you! It has nothing to do with age


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:57:47 pm

That would be called devils advocate. Do you know what that is? And I also went on to say that it may not be the way we want it but it is the way it is. Unless that contract is put in place then he is free to give his card to whoever. What, it's a big bad world and the guy diddent play nice? Get over it.


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 10:14:33 pm

And just because you don't see fit to make a contract does not mean others don't do it.


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Tom Sefton
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 10:18:09 pm

So you make a contract with every freelancer you employ? Would you care to pass on the wording of that?


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 10:27:43 pm

Do I make a contract that insures the aragement is to my liking? Yes I do...not sure I get what's so hard to grasp here. If you conduct business without contracts than that's just bad business.


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Tom Sefton
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 10:41:58 pm

Yes, so the last contract that you drew up for a freelancer that ensured they wouldn't hand a business card...can we see it?


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 11:02:11 pm

Who said I did? I am simply saying that would solve the problem and I know some people who have done it. Can I see a copy of your rules? Haha. Like what do you want from me. Go troll somewhere else


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Tom Sefton
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 11:22:36 pm

My point is that a contract will very rarely stop something like this. If a freelancer you are using for one day has such low ethics or common sense that they would hand over cards when working for you, a contract most likely wouldn't STOP them doing it. I wanted to see your contract because I thought maybe you had an enlightened view on how to stop someone from doing this, and then reclaim future lost earnings from someone who poaches a client after a harmless exchange of business cards whilst on your money.

It wouldn't protect you after the event either - it would already have happened, and unless you SAW them doing it you would be none the wiser. You can withhold $250, but so what? It has already happened - you might have had YOUR clients head turned.

Ethics and responsibility have a massive place in OUR industry. Young and old professionals need to respect their colleagues.

I'm not trolling Sebastian - I'm pretty upset for Ned that this has happened, but I don't think that a contract for a one day freelancer would solve the problem. Sure-if you were employing someone for weeks and there were thousands of pounds/dollars being exchanged, then it is common sense to have a contract. But as most of us like to trust the professional they are hiring, a contract that says "you are prohibited from handing out business cards" wouldn't be the first thing on their minds. The contract with the end client would be. I'm nowhere near as experienced as Ned or as many of the other professionals on this forum, but I do employ people on a weekly basis.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 25, 2013 at 11:51:28 pm

Now, boys, don't make me turn this car around! This is not USENET, we keep it civil here. Don't make me wake Zelin!


Sebastian, maybe part of the push-back on your comment comes from the fact you just joined and your profile section tells us nothing about where you're coming from in terms of your experience. If you could maybe give us a little of that... you don't have to list your turn-ons and turn offs or how you like long walks on the beach or whatever. But some resume' highlights or a URL to an online reel could help. This is NOT challenging your expertise or right to comment, but merely specifying what that expertise is in.

Now, Sebastian, what I want to say about your comment is that your personal philosophy about the topic may work for you, but in the experience of a majority of pros in this forum, it is considered very bad form and borderline unethical to market yourself to the client of the guy that hired you, most especially, while still on the job for that client. In terms of dating relationshis, this is like a woman suddenly leaving the guy that took her out on a date, to go across the dance floor and give another guy her number.


The comment about getting blackballed for this kind of activity is dead-on true, and you can like it or not. But that is the way it has always been, and I will tell you further that Millennials or not, that's the way it will continue to be. It is in all our economic best self-interest, and yours, that the tradition continues.

I understand this is not the typical Craig's List mentality, where people will do anything for a rapidly-decreasing buck. But this IS a business of personal relationships, where a man's or woman's reputation is the currency. Most of the good jobs, the best jobs, come through referrals. From the Producer's side as well as the clients side. What you can do to market yourself while in another's employ is different from what you can do when you are the only one involved. Ask any corporation HR department what they think of an employee who does personal work on company time. As the sound man, the kid was a sub-contractor working within Ned's organization.

The protocol for that, is that subs do NOT engage the client with self-promotion. This undermines the authority of the guy that hired you to work for HIM, and it complicates his financial dealings with the client that BTW is in the end, PAYING BOTH OF YOU. The established protocol is that if the client wants to talk to you about working on another job, in any context, that conversation has to go thru the person that hired you as intermediary. The contractor gets first crack at giving you that additional work, thru his office. Often, if you approach the contractor as soon as this request happens, they may just give you their blessing, since you're only being hired as a sound man and not as a rival producer/production company. We are not about denying a brother or sister a chance to work. Heck, that's why all the referrals happen when people like you and how you do what you do. We ARE however against clients dividing members of a team and driving down rates for everyone, so that nobody can make a living. And this happens more than it should.


Sebastian, you argued that such protocols would be unnecessary if embodied in contractual language. That is actually true.

However, what is in typical contractual language, and what is longstanding industry practice and custom, are two different things, as people are telling you. Not every contract has to specify: "don't be a back-biting ###k to the guy that hired you for a gig". In previous generations, this was learned behavior from parents, mentors, etc.


Finally, this kind of behavior tells a client you (not you personally, I mean the guy hawking his card) are not to be trusted, so while presenting them the business card might get ONE gig, as others have said, the damage to your industry rep will lose you much more business than that one inappropriate contact gained. The client will remember that you were easily tempted by opportunity, and they won't trust anything truly high-profit to people that are ethically ambivalent.


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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 26, 2013 at 3:01:26 am

Mark's last post says it all and that is how the business has been run. The rule is: You don't steal your client's client. Got that kid? There is an ethical framework not to steal the clients of the people who got you on the job. What don't you understand about that? But you Sebastian, you go right ahead and give out your business cards and steal all the clients you want. Welcome to our industry...

And judging by your comments about a contract for someone you hire for between $250-$500, obviously you have never been to Small Claims Court like I have many times. That contract would not be worth the time of sitting in court all day trying to get it enforced, then trying to collect.

This forum should have some minimum requirements for participating, like real professional experience perhaps?

But thank you Mark for saying politely and in great detail what we all know, except Sebastian and the soundman I referred to in the original post.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 26, 2013 at 3:31:11 am

Wow, I guess you missed the part where I said it sucks but that happens sometimes. I never said I'd do the same. I was playing devils advocate. I find it interesting how you try to belittle people and talk down on younger generations. You don't seam to read my comments very well, you come to grand assumptions about who I am and talk down on me like you know me. My first thought would be your a bitter person that thinks the youth has nothing to bring to the table and if someone presents another side to the story, you get your panties up in a bunch. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I don't tend to sum a person up based on a comment. I thought you where done with this thread? Or shall we continue? Haha.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 26, 2013 at 4:28:48 am

Ned, that last crack at Sebastian was unbecoming. It undercuts your moral authority when you do stuff like that while at the same time trying to make a point about being a "stand-up guy".

Sebastian, don't mistake asking you about your background and qualifications for a put-down. When you drop the kind of bombshell statement you've made regarding a longstanding industry protocol, it stands to reason people want to know who you are and what you know about the topic that qualified making the assertion. Straight-up; are you really practicing what you're saying, and how's that working out for you so far, is what people reasonably can be expected to wonder.

At this point, the usual next step is for you to calmly and dispassionately explain your background and experiences -direct experiences - involving this kind of person-to-person marketing on the Producer's time and dime. You've got everybody curious now. Don't leave us hanging. Make your case.


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:17:34 pm

I'm a freelance videographer. I have worked with several producers and my personal understanding has been that its a no no to do what the guy did. But my point has been that its unfortunate, but it happens. The best thing to do in Ned's situation would be to explain to the guy what he did wrong. If the guy does not correct it, than he's not professional and the solution would be not to work with him in the future. It is the job of the more experienced to show the younger generations how things go. It's all about colaneration and learning from each other.


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Tom Sefton
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:14:53 pm

I don't think there is a problem with him giving his business card in that situation. You don't own that person and plus, his profession is sound...what is your job description?

Your first comment was why I responded. I didn't see anything here that accepts it is a no no, or that a contract would have stopped it.


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 26, 2013 at 2:53:27 pm

Oh, apologies. I was playing devils advocate. Sorry for the confusion


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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:51:08 pm

Sorry Mark.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Tom Sefton
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 27, 2013 at 7:15:24 am

You really aren't doing yourself any favours here.


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Sebastian Schmid
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 27, 2013 at 7:19:33 am

Oh darn.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Mar 30, 2013 at 5:22:20 am

Late to the party here.
I've seen both sides. I had a hired camera guy give his card to my client. Seemed a bit odd, although neither I nor my client were within 1000 miles of our homes so that card is probably in a landfill somewhere. In other words, probably not a big chance to steal my client - he was merely introducing himself.

As far as a client is concerned, your crew works for you.

On the flip side - same client, different shoot. The client asked the local camera guy about future work and the local camera guy deferred to me showing professional courtesy.

But it is not the end of the world. If you think it is a problem, say something privately to each party, or just let it go based upon your own experience and judgement. Not worth making a federal case out of most things.

Most flabbergasting is how threads can get out of hand with personal attacks. Not professional at all. We're all here to ask for and receive free advice.

If you ask your neighbor the dentist if he thinks you need a filling, and he says you should consider teeth whitening, I don't think you'd get into an argument with him if you disagreed. If he told you to see a plastic surgeon, that might be worth a tussle!

Mike Cohen


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:30:33 am

Real late on this one... but ned, what will you say when a client doesn't want to hire anyone over 50 yrs old? age shouldn't matter (and i'm 38 for the record)

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Apr 15, 2013 at 1:56:18 am

Hi Scott,

Busy last week so could not respond. Yes there is definite ageism in this biz. The only benefit of getting older (besides accumulating wealth) is you get more experience and wiser, otherwise it's all downhill! I'd say as a DP once you get to your late 40's you aren't getting the calls for jungle and mountain shooting for one thing. This is actually a pretty cruel industry to try to grow old in (a little easier in post production) unless your name is on the door. But let me ask you your opinion. Here's a typical scenario:

Get a call for an early morning, high stress shoot:

• Downtown skyscraper, underground loading dock, stiff security, need to roll by 8AM so call at dock is 6AM, crew cars already parked. Should I even consider crew that works part time as bartenders, actors or wait staff and were up till 2:30AM? Single guys out at the clubs? I digress, don't answer that one, wait. Here's the deal:

• Get to the location and told the CEO or busy celebrity wants to do just one take and has to get out of there. Teleprompter. Client wants the "view" of windows behind subject (even though sunlight will stream in). Subject is a dark black man, bald, sweaty, wearing a white shirt and glasses. Client adds a three step walk to the shot.

So in this scenario, do I want my soundperson, grip and prompter operator to be around 45 years old with 20 years of experience? 55 years old with 30 years of experience? Or do I want the crew in their mid-twenties with just 2 years of experience? Perhaps for their "youthful energy" as mentioned in earlier posts?

Me? I prefer the crew with the grey hairs...

And if that same shoot was in a far out suburban location the crew members who do not own a car, meaning they don't know the ins and outs of the city traffic patterns, and they rent a car and rely on what the GPS or Mapquest says as estimated times, my experience is that they will be late 100% of the time. And I have a lot of experience in that situation.

Age brings experience and car ownership promotes punctuality. When you think about it our main task is to minimize Murphy's Law. I'm very good at that!

All the best,

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Apr 15, 2013 at 3:01:21 am

I thought I was done, but just one more little thing:

It's not always clear which is the smarter bet in terms of hiring married men versus young bachelors. Family men know exactly what's at stake for a job, sure, and the fact they are family men suggests some stability and trustworthiness... but they also are open to extra sudden emergencies when one of the kids gets sick or has an accident or some scheduling problem pops up. Young bachelors, like it or not, due to "having no life", are considered more "available" should a day go into overtime, start too darn early, or if the schedule needs to flex, only because nobody else is depending on them but themselves, ...and maybe a pet.

The best crew mix is just that: a mix of ages and expertise.

Younger types may not have learned everything yet, but they question a lot of things, and you wind up re-evaluating the reasons for things when they do. Sometimes, they will be right to ask: "Why are you (still) doing it that way?" Fresh eyes can offer a different perspective.

On the other side, it never hurts to have at least one crusty old guy full of stories, with the onion on his belt. He's the one that thinks of the stuff you didn't, has already made the mistakes you haven't yet, dealt with every personality type, and learned the weaknesses of each. He knows the shortcuts and work-arounds. He doesn't need to check the manual because he knows the settings by heart. He knows where the food, drinks, bathrooms, docks, and breaker panels are. He only ever makes one trip out to the grip truck, because that's all he needs. And at least SOME of the interminable stories will be darned funny and kill time while you're waiting for something to get ready on the set.


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Ned Miller
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Apr 16, 2013 at 2:12:38 am

Hey Mark,

What do you mean onion on a belt? I never heard that expression.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Absolutely flabergasted! 25 y.o. crew member gives my client his business card
on Apr 16, 2013 at 3:34:54 am

Stupid Flanders









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